WATCH: Gather Round is theme as Brighton Festival prepares to launch

Brighton Festival promises an ambitious celebration of community, collaboration and the joy of shared experiences as it unveils its 2023 line-up under this year’s guest director musician and DJ Nabihah Iqbal.
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Premieres include Galatea, the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s comedies and The Sleeping Tree, evoking a rainforest in the city. This year will also see Brighton Dome’s historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre reopen with an immersive Van Gogh Alive experience; other highlights include events featuring Anita Rani, Russell Tovey, Anoushka Shankar, Yuja Wang, David Olusoga, Munroe Bergdorf and Goldie.

Brighton Festival was established in 1967 and is the largest annual curated multi-arts festival in England.

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The Festival takes place from May 6-28 (tickets available at and will stage a host of music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and community events in venues and locations across Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

Nabihah Iqbal, Brighton Festival 23 Guest Director: Photo credit Shahir IqbalNabihah Iqbal, Brighton Festival 23 Guest Director: Photo credit Shahir Iqbal
Nabihah Iqbal, Brighton Festival 23 Guest Director: Photo credit Shahir Iqbal

Nabihah Iqbal will present her latest experimental musical project SUROOR, with artists Raheel Khan, Paul Purgas and Imran Peretta; and champions UK bass culture with DJs Aba Shanti-I and Dennis Bovell. Iqbal will also be in conversation with inspiring artists and thinkers across the programme, including exploring the history of Brighton and East Sussex with historian David Olusoga, and a joyful evening of music and discussion with BBC broadcaster Anita Rani.

“It has been an honour to curate this year’s Brighton Festival and I’m looking forward to seeing it add another layer of vibrancy to Brighton, a city so full of energy already,” she said.

“It’s a cliché to say that the Festival offers something for everyone – but maybe to get the most out of it, the key is to try going to the things that you think aren’t for you…and hopefully you’ll come away pleasantly surprised.”

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Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, added: “With this programme and her theme of Gather Round, Nabihah Iqbal has captured the eclectic, intellectually curious and culturally adventurous spirit of the Festival and this city. I believe Brighton & Hove can lead the way in sustainable, healthy recovery from the pandemic and the economic and social shocks that have followed it and Brighton Festival is a key part of that recovery. The artists Nabihah has gathered provide irresistible reasons for communities to come together and for residents and visitors to celebrate all that our great city has to offer.”

Brighton Festival commissions include the world premiere of a new genre-defying production of John Lyly’s Galatea - first performed over 400 years ago and the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Award-winning theatre maker Emma Frankland will stage this inclusive tale of love, joy and the importance of welcoming outsiders in spoken English and British Sign Language outdoors in Shoreham, and the world premiere of The Sleeping Tree, from award-winning interactive arts collective Invisible Flock, will use an immersive soundscape to transport audiences at Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall.